New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company
Many locals are familiar with salsa company Teresa’s Gourmet Foods, which was started by Mark Hoffman 20 years ago, and whose products can be found at New Leaf and Staff of Life. But it’s been through some big changes. Just a couple of years ago, Hoffman sold the company to Eve Krammer and Catherine Wenzler, and already the twosome have added a salsa verde and roasted roja sauce to the product list, and even tweaked some of Hoffman’s original recipes. We spoke with the new owners of Teresa’s Gourmet Foods to find out all about their salsa company.
Who is Teresa?
EVE KRAMMER: She’s the perfect fictitious embodiment of the salsa lady—the salsa matriarch.
How does one get into the salsa business?
CATHERINE WENZLER: It was kind of a fluke. I had known Mark for five years. I was working at Black China, and he was in the same area. He always joked around with me that he wanted to sell Teresa’s. Then he got really sick. I brought up the idea of buying it, and he thought it was the right decision.
EVE KRAMMER: Catherine and I love cooking and food, and we’re really involved with the local Farmers Market. We didn’t necessarily expect to own a salsa company, but we’ve really embraced it.
What’s the process of developing a new product idea?
CATHERINE WENZLER: For the salsa verde and the roja sauce, I got a bunch of different recipes and took what I liked from each one, which evolved into my own recipe. Eve would bring me her recipe and then we’d have a family dinner and see what we liked. [We] whittled it down to what was the perfect product, just making sure the flavor was right and the acidity was right, something that we felt comfortable putting out. It took about half a dozen times for each one. We rely on our taste buds and our friends and family, as well.
How do you distinguish yourself amongst other bottled salsa products?
EVE KRAMMER: Simple ingredients. There are no preservatives. There’s nothing weird in there. If you look at the label, there’s seven ingredients, if that. We keep it really artisanal, and like something you’d want to make at home.
CATHERINE WENZLER: We have a super cool label that sticks out from all the other large-scale companies.
Available at New Leaf and Staff of Life markets, for more info go to teresasgourmetfoods.com.